Nakuru calls on manufacturers to tap into various subsectors to help unlock job creation
Written by Jeremy Ogolla
Nakuru County is set to organize a prime Investment Conference at the beginning of 2024 to promote trade and investment.
The conference to be held in Naivasha, will play a key role in marketing and positioning Nakuru as a prime destination for investment given its endowment in natural and human resources.
The Conference will showcase different sectors that include agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacturing and Industry, value addition, infrastructural rehabilitation, and development among others.
Speaking during the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, South Rift Region Annual Meeting and Consultative Forum, County Executive for Trade, Mr Stephen Kuria reiterated the county’s resolve to weed out any bottleneck that may impede investors’ confidence in the county.
“As a County, we are playing a part by creating corresponding opportunities for investors to help shape the future of Nakuru. This is among other things, formulating policies and regulatory framework to package attractive transactions for the benefit of investors and the county as a whole,” Kuria noted.
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) annual forums, act as a platform to deliberate on the state of manufacturing across the regions and consequently set the agenda for the coming year.
This year’s South Rift region forum brought together experts and players from the manufacturing industry within Nakuru to discuss ways of seizing the many opportunities tucked within the sector.
In his address, Mr. Kuria then noted that H.E Governor Susan Kihika is keen to bring back the manufacturing industry to its former glory by creating a platform to showcase the county’s potential to investors and other stakeholders.
Kuria further revealed that the County has recognized certain sub-sectors in the manufacturing sector that need significant investment.
Such areas include foodstuffs, drinks and beverages business, textile and ginning, clothing and footwear, paper printing and publishing, metal and non-metallic products, chemical and petroleum products as well as transport and equipment.
“As the economy stabilizes and opens up, we hope to see a higher volume of funds flow as investment capital in Nakuru County. It is imperative therefore, we have a good grasp of the sectors where clients and potential clients can unlock value for themselves and for the county,” Kuria stated
On his part, KAM Chief Executive Mr. Anthony Mwangi noted that the County has a great potential for investment in the energy sector through Geothermal. This makes Nakuru an ideal energy candidate in the fight against climate change globally.
“Nakuru can have a solution to climate challenges by focusing on its potential to generate geothermal in Olkaria. As you remember this was noted during the climate forum held here in Kenya’s capital Nairobi,” Mwangi said.
He further added that the time was ripe to package and market Nakuru as the only place for hydrogen fuel that provides an inherently clean source of energy that has no adverse environmental impact during operation as the byproducts are heat and steam.
According to the KMA review, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been decreasing. This according to Mwangi is not because the manufacturing sector is stagnant but rather due to the fact that other sectors are growing at a faster pace.
“Currently, manufacturing contributes 7.8% to the GDP. However, the association has set an ambitious goal to increase this to 20% by 2030,” said Mwangi.
He nevertheless emphasized the importance of addressing challenges related to ease of doing business and taxation, to enhance the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector.
“The Country has gradually become more and more dependent on imports due to either a lack of capacity or complete collapse in some cases, in the manufacturing sector. Our ability to generate and maintain reserves of foreign currency has suffered as a consequence due to an overreliance on imports and a lack of liquidity generating exports of locally manufactured goods,” he explained.
KAM, South Rift Chairperson Peris Mbuthia, lauded the County Government for the continued support in the provision of an enabling environment for investment and business improvement for the association and its members.
She further affirmed the association’s dedication to facilitating meaningful discussions, ensuring active member participation in shaping the manufacturing industry in Nakur
“As a Business Membership Organization (BMO) our commitment is pegged on frequent stakeholder engagement geared towards uniting industrialists offering a common voice,” she said.
Others present during the meeting were Mr. Alex Maina (Chief Officer, Youth and Sports), Macharia Maina (Tourism Officer), and other representatives from the County and KAM members.